May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Friday, March 23, 2012

Family Room Re-do: Current Pics

Hola everyone!

I have been so neglectful in not getting current photos of the family room posted here.  So tonight I rushed home from the office (not - first I had to stop at the Pick 'n Save and buy wine, spaghetti sauce and a new formula of shampoo and conditioner to go with my newfangled hairdo that I'm not sure I like yet - it's geared toward "natural curl"...)  So, without further ado, here are not so great photos of my family room!  This is a LONG POST.  It may take you months to read so, darlings, be prepared with stocks of comfort food and good things to drink.

Oh my Goddess!  Isn't this just about the most romantic, cozy photograph of two chairs, lamp, table and window (with footstool) and what-not clutter you've ever seen!  Trust me - sure wasn't intended for it too look this way.  I just point the camera and shoot!  Welcome to my family room.  It is every bit as comfortable as it looks in these photos.  Wow, it amazes me to say that, but it's absolutely true.

The window is on the west wall and overlooks my backyard, which I love to pieces.  This is the only window in the room but because of the southwest/western exposure, during the summer it lets in tons of light! The wall to the south is the long windowless wall I have mentioned in previous posts.  To the right is the large opening to the dinette and kitchen.  The chair on the left is a recliner that I purchased in about 2003 -- never thought I'd be a recliner type of woman but hey, live and learn!  It is upholstered in a camel narrow-ribbed courderoy-look fabric.

The large wing chair and footstool to the right were purchased from Sears Home Life sometime in 1997, I believe.  They are upholstered in the same fabric as the sleeper sofa you'll see in the next photo. 

Both chairs have folded afghans on their backs because I like to cozy up when I sit and read.  They are used constantly during the winter but even in summer, sometimes, it can get cold and damp-feeling but I'm not about to turn the heat on! 

I regularly switch between chairs.  Both are incredibly comfy!  Usually the lamp sits in the center of the cheapo round table (covered luxuriously with an off-white under tablecloth followed by a dark bronze tablecloth) but this year - for the very first time ever in this house -- and I've lived here nearly 21 years -- I "decorated" for Oestre; hence the little ceramic Oestre basket filled with plastic grass and plastic eggs.  Oy.  Wish they weren't plastic, but the eggs would sure start to smell after a week or two and ordinarily this time of year there would be no green grass in sight in SE Wisconsin! We'd still have frozen mounds of snow on the ground!  But this winter was the winter that never came...

That is my queen-size sleeper sofa with a full 7" thick mattress and it is a very comfortable bed (I know it sounds silly, but I have actually slept on it more than once during some nasty storms with tornado watches when I want to be near to the door to the basement...).  It's hardly ever been used since I bought it -- don't remember exactly when, 1996 or 1997 perhaps, and the sofa weighs a ton to shove around.  Every time I change the furniture around in this room I have bruises on my hips to show for it - simply from the pressure and force it takes to shove this baby around from side to side.  I'm no light-weight, although I do not have much upper arm strength.Years ago, one of the wheels on the sleeper sofa went cock-eyed and short of turning it upside down (not possible for a single woman to do by herself) my remedy was to remove the cock-eyed wheel (it was obviously bent) and jerry-rig various different wheeled-casters into the opening of the corner block (which is probably cracked and therefore) ever since.  None has worked very well.  Sigh. 

I love this sofa, despite the cock-eyed caster.  It (and the wing chair and ottoman shown in previous photo) are upholstered in a light-to-medium taupe "brocade" floral pattern material.  It is very cushy and comfortable.  It doesn't seem like it is large enough for a queen size bed to fit but, well, there you have it!  It fits the space. 

Now, to those of you who might ask (not that anyone will, but just in case...) I HAVE tried placing the sofa more or less across from the entertainment center, and it just didn't work.  It felt too crowded and claustrophobic.  Probably because the sofa is extra-deep and chews up so much real estate.  This room is less than 13 feet wide.

In front of the sofa is a very old painted former t.v. stand that has been with me since probably 1971. In fact, it used to be on four casters.  I long ago removed the casters but kept them - don't know why.  Until one day, one of the casters on the sleeper sofa went cock-eyed and after trying two different purchased substitutes which were not strong enough to work, one day I was cleaning out cupboards and came across an old paper sack that contained the ancient casters from the old t.v. stand.  I tried one of them in the cock-eyed sleeper sofa and it worked (sort of).

I spray painted the t.v. stand black years ago and then faux-finished it with a fake sponge and various paints in an attempt (in vain, alas) to simulate tortoise shell.  It's black with globs of various shades of paint on it. But I love it! Even after all these years.  Does that make me weird?  These days no t.v. on it, it holds an alabaster chess set on top, the remotes for the ancient 27" old t.v. and the VHS/DVD player, an ashtray (for Mr. Don when he is here) and the lower rack holds a ton of archaeological magazines.  This sucker is sturdy! 

The wall behind the sofa has not been decorated since 2009, the last time I rearranged this room.  I have heaved and shoved this furniture (and its predecessors) around this room numerous times during the years I have lived here.  A lot of that prior furniture is long gone, but the basic lay-outs remain the same.  There are only so many ways one can arrange this much furniture in this amount of space.  I've tried them all since this house was built!

Tucked behind the sofa is a sofa-table as old as the entertainment center is -- dating to 1986.  Right now, that sofa table hosts a printer/fax/copier/scanner and a second laptop in addition to the requisite lamp to provide light to the sofa.  I'd wanted to put a "work station" into this room for years, but only recently did so (in late fall 2011, I think).  Then again, my memory ain't what it used to be, and it is quite possible that I only finished this in late December, just before Mr. Don arrived to visit in preparation for our trip to Spain. 

Black with brass trim entertainment center was a very expensive piece purchased in 1986.  It is nearly in as good condition today as when I purchased it.  So I will not say it wasn't worth the money back then.  It sure was.

Sponged bookcases were originally flat black and they are fiberboard purchased from Sears -- I don't remember when.  They are HEAVY suckers and even back then they cost like $79 each, which is outrageous! However, I was looking for something tall, deep and sturdy at the time, and these fit the requirements. These days I find them far too deep at about 16.5 inches  to hold my books (I've got tons of books).  Even my largest tomes which are stashed in the spare room upstairs on much cheaper and rickety bookcases aren't 16.5 inches wide.  But these bookcases are sturdy, solid and the shelves -- after having been flipped for being bowed by the weight of my books over many years, have yet to "bow" back.  That's some tough fiberboard!  

In a fit of "lightening" up the room when I replaced the wallpaper in I think it was 1996 or 1997, I sponge painted the bookcases in various shades of tan/beige/gold/copper.  Actually, I don't hate their color(s).  Not sure what that says about my design sense after all these years.  Hmmmm....

Another photo of the east end of the family room.  Here you can see the service door to the garage.  On the left, not shown, is another door to a small utility closet where the vacuums and lots of other stuff is stashed.  This view gives you a pretty good feeling for how "smallish" the room is.  It's less than 19 feet long by 13 feet wide and I've got lots of stuff parked in it!  Messy magazines underneath the old t.v. stand now coffee-table!  You can also see some of my cluttered up research on the bookcase.

This photo gives you a good look at the height of my border and wallpaper.  I was not satisfied back then, nooooooo, with "standard chair-rail" height for paper plus border.  I put it on much "taller."  This is going to cause problems, I'm sure of it, once I strip it all off and check out the conditions of the walls underneath because in some spots I know the primer I used eons ago when I first papered this room (in 1990), was not put on "thick" enough.  Well, I won't go there now...

The bookcases and entertainment center have been arranged this way since Fall, 2009.  It is a major hassle to move them around, let me tell you!  They are heavy even stripped of all their stuff!  And it's just me shoving things around with my no-strength at all arms, mostly heaving ho and ho with my hips and legs.  Amazing what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it...  These pieces of furniture are centered (more or less) on the windowless south wall. 

So, now you get pretty good views of my chaotic bookcases!  Loaded with books, piles of papers (research in various stages), a 19 inch digital T.V. on the left (moved to this position in November, 2011 from another room in the house), cluttered with photographs of family and loved ones, and gifts and souvenirs from over the years. I am not kidding you when I say that these are working bookcases, not just for "show."  It makes me gag when I see blogs with wallpaper-covered books that I just KNOW the person has never even cracked open for a second and has no idea of the book's contents.  If that person ever actually read that book, that person would NEVER use any book to elevate a piece of cheapo or expensive bric a brac.  Never ever ever.  Books are just too precious to be used in such a degrading way.  Why not just use a paper "brick" instead, and cover that up as a faux book?  Why waste a perfectly good REAL book for such a purpose?

Each and every one of these books on my shelves has been rea, some of them read several times.  About 10% of these books are reference sources,that I use regularly in my chess/historical research and writing.  I like having these books in the spaces where I live everyday.  I do not like having so many of my reference books tucked away in the "spare" room upstairs, where my old laptop still sits (got to do something about THAT -- ).  Ideally, I would love all of my books in one place, conveniently accessible, and efficiently organized!  Oh geez, yet more to think about...

I NEED A LIBRARIAN.  Well, at least these days thanks to the wonder woman who comes in once a week to vacuum, dust and do assorted other household cleaning tasks, the bookshelves and their contents are no longer coated in dust. And I am proud to report that once each year, even the years I did not physically relocate the bookshelves (necessitating removing all of the contents therefrom and a full day's worth of work), I have individually dusted each and every book and each and every object on the shelves. And that was before Terry, the cleaning woman, came into my life.  Books are incredibly precious objects and deserve to be treated with love and respect.  Otherwise, why the hell do you have them in your house, people???

There used to be a lot more stuff on the bookshelves.  Layers upon layers of books, souvenirs and photos. Well, these suckers are like 16.5" deep!  I "decluttered" when I had the house on the market for a few months back in late 2009.  You should have seen them before that "decluttering!"  No photos -- I was not in the habit of photographing my house every other minute back then.

Northeast corner of the family room.  Here you can see how tall the wallpaper plus border is -- too bad the color isn't too clear.  It's primarily pink and beige, with shades of grey and some gold in it, sort of a "marble" look.  It really still is quite pretty, I'm just tired of it.  The border is metallic and has shades of bronze, taupe, and greeny-beige in it.  Ditto.  No way to hide the utility closet door or the service door to the garage!  Notice also the little "ranch" style floorboards and trim around the doors.  Builder's standard.  This was not a high-end house, and wasn't intended to be.  Sure didn't think back then I'd be here for nearly 21 years, but so it goes. I love this house.

I'm not planning on adding new trim and casings.  I intend to add an actual chair rail in this room. I have thought, off and on, about adding a modest crown moulding to this room, but really, with the present woodwork, I think it would look rather pretensious.  Not to mention that since this room is soooo wide open to the dinette/kitchen area, it would look totally out of whack to have one room so frou-froued up relative to the other rooms that are just painted drywall and ranch trim! 

More miscellaneous room views, to give you a feel for my space.  Geez, that old ratty sponge panting doesn't look so bad in this romantic lighting, nor does the first and only attempt at "stenciling" a border along the ceiling line.  Just don't get up on a ladder and look too close, LOL! 

Sooooo, as you can see, this is about to be turned into a really TAUPE-Y space.  The carpeting is taupe; other than the recliner, the furniture is TAUPE.  Side panel draperies are taupe with bronze and other color embroidered florals.  I will hate to put those away, they are so pretty, but they just will not go with the new color scheme.

Okay, it's nearly 12:30 a.m. Time for this woman to get to bed!  More tomorrow.  I bought a new area rug with the new color(s) for the family room today!!!!!  Wooo wooo!

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